INTERVIEW: Turner's Graham Saltmarsh on Ben 10 - Licensing.biz

INTERVIEW: Turner's Graham Saltmarsh on Ben 10

UK licensing director talks about Ben 10 Omniverse UK retail activity.
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Licensing.biz: How is Ben 10 performing today? Is it still as popular as ever (are viewing figures up or down year-on-year)? 

Graham Saltmarsh, Turner CN Enterprises: Ben 10 continues to retain its popularity and draws legions of new fans as the series has evolved over the years. 

It is the number one rating show on Cartoon Network in the UK, where it is watched by almost two million viewers every month. New episodes of Ben 10: Ultimate Alien launched in June and increased the time slot rating by 77 per cent. Needless to say, we’re very excited about the upcoming launch of the latest iteration Ben 10: Omniverse.

Please tell us what kind of activity you're running around the Ben 10: Omniverse show and toy line.

We have a whole array of exciting plans for the launch of Ben 10: Omniverse, which debuts on Cartoon Network in the UK on October 6th. 

Activity has run over the summer at shopping centres across the country, and to date we have sampled over 120,000 participants at five locations, with four more still to come. 

New Ben 10: Omniverse product has been flying off the shelves at each of the locations and there is real excitement both about the new toy range and the imminent series launch. The campaign has been supported by an online initiative at Ben10record.co.uk, with the opportunity to watch a sneak preview of the first episode. 

Again the interaction has been incredible with 150,000 unique users in a matter of weeks, and kids spending almost 10 minutes on the site each visit. There is also huge momentum behind the series with a high rotation ad campaign that is our biggest marketing spend of the year. In addition we’ve got phenomenal retail activity lined up with a number of key retailers.

Do you have any retail exclusives planned? What do you think of retail exclusives? 

Retailers go after retail exclusives as they feel this will give them an advantage over competitors, but that’s not always necessarily the case. A well thought out cross category promotion with exciting POS will probably drive stronger sales, and having product distribution across a greater number of retailers can help brand awareness and sales for all. 

How important is licensed product/Ben 10 toys? 

We are very lucky to work with Bandai who are our master toy partner on Ben 10 and their product lines are a very important contributing factor to the property’s success. 

The additional product areas that surround the master toy lines give added depth to the property at retail and increase the levels of interaction Ben 10 fans can have with the brand.

Is Ben 10 still the biggest boys property of the moment? Just how big is it? 

Ben 10 has been incredibly popular for the last five years - there are always other brands that come and go but Ben is here for the distance. 

It remains a core brand for us on our TV channels and in our portfolio, and there is a huge commitment to the franchise across the organisation which gives licensees and retailers the confidence to support the brand in store. 

Ben 10 went back up to number 1 slot in Action Figures for June 2012 (source: NPD) and this is without all the promotional campaigns we have planned for new series. The future is definitely still bright for Ben 10.

Read the Licensing section in ToyNews' upcoming October issue for more exclusive details on the Ben 10 Omniverse activity.

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